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Elizabeth Fry [f.2.3.3]

Elizabeth Fry was the third child of William Fry & Elizabeth Stanbridge christened 28th May, 1843 at Ardingley.

At the time of the 1861 census Elizabeth, described as a ‘niece’, was visiting relatives at Wimwood Farm, Rusper, Sussex.  She was visiting James & Mary Pickard (nee Burtenshaw).  Mary was a sister of Jane Burtenshaw who married Robert Fry [f.7], brother of John Fry [f.2], Elizabeth’s grandfather.

Elizabeth married Joseph Pennifold on September 14th, 1863 at St Nicholas, Brighton. Joseph was born at Lowfield Heath, Charlwood & christened June 6th, 1841 at Charlwood, Surrey, the son of Martha Stoner & Joseph Pennifold, a blacksmith/farmer. One of the witnesses at the wedding was Annie Fry, presumably Elizabeth's sister.

Elizabeth & Joseph's marriage certificate

After their marriage Elizabeth & Joseph lived at Felmer, Sussex & at Hollingdean Rd, Brighton.

Their first child Kate was born 1864 at Cowfold, followed by Alice in 1865 & Walter in 1869. Tragically Walter died before his first birthday in March 1870.

In 1871 Elizabeth was housekeeper to her brother William Fry, innkeeper of the Red Lion Inn at Cowfold. Daughter Alice was with her mother. Joseph at this time was at his parents home at Moon Hill ‘Farm House’, Cuckfield where his father was a farmer employing 3 men & 1 boy. Daughter Kate was with her father. Joseph’s sister Betsy Pennifold was also at the farm.

On June 13th, 1872 Elizabeth petitioned for divorce from Joseph Pennifold.  The grounds for her request for divorce were based on Joseph having deserted Elizabeth & the two children, leaving them destitute.  She stated that Joseph initially (from February 1867 until October 1868) cohabited & committed adultery with Elizabeth Westgate at Brighton.  Elizabeth then went on to state that from January 1872 he then cohabited & habitually committed adultery with Jane Rowland at Saint Johns, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex.  Elizabeth also stated that on May 14th, 1872 Joseph also committed adultery with an unknown woman at Saint Johns, Hurstpierpoint.

Joseph did not appear in court to defend the suit & a decree nisi was granted at Westminster on April 29th, 1873 on the grounds of adultery coupled with desertion.

It is uncertain what happened to Elizabeth as no record can be found for her in 1881.

In 1891 there is a record of Elizabeth Pennifold as a parlourmaid at Arlington House School, Eastern Rd, Brighton. Elizabeth was recorded as born in Ardingley, aged 42, and single!

On February 16th, 1880 Joseph Pennifold married Caroline Allfrey, a school mistress, at St Peter’s Church, Brighton. The marriage certificate shows that Joseph was 39 at the time of the marriage & his father was Joseph Pennifold (deceased), a farmer. Intriguingly Joseph was described as a bachelor on the certificate! Caroline was a 45 year old spinster, born at Keymer, Sussex, the daughter of Catherine & Thomas Allfrey (deceased), a builder.

Marriage certificate of Joseph Pennifold & Caroline Allfrey

The 1881 census notes Joseph Pennifold, a general labourer, & wife Caroline living at London Rd, Keymer, Burgess Hill, Sussex & Joseph had been born at Charlwood, Surrey c1841, so it appears that Joseph had indeed remarried. Daughter Alice (15) appears to be a domestic servant for William Tugwell & family, a boot maker living at Preston, Brighton. Daughter Kate was living with her aunt & uncle, Ann (nee Ann Fry) & Henry Summarsell at Preston, Brighton where she was helping raise their 6 children.

In 1891 & 1901 Joseph was living at Southdown Cottages, Burgess Hill with his wife Caroline & he was a carpenter.

Daughter Kate married Frederick Saw, a baker, in 1890 & in 1891 they were living at Worth, East Grinstead.   By 1901 they had 5 children & were living in Haddenham, Bucks.  Daughter Alice was visiting her future husband, Frederick Walter Brooker, a cowman, & his widowed mother at the time of the 1891 census.  They were at Inholme Farm, Horley, Surrey.  Alice & Frederick married soon after the census.  By 1901 they had 4 children & were living at Perry Farm Cottage, Horne, Surrey.

Elizabeth was working as a house keeper for 67 year old James Wood, a lodging house keeper in the1901 census.  She was noted as widowed on the census!  They were living at Ashburnham Rd, Tonbridge, Kent. 

Joseph's wife Caroline died, aged 68, on January 2nd, 1903 at Southdown Cottages, West St, Burgess Hill.  Probate was granted on May 8th, 1903 to her nephew George Bates Redman, gunsmith & her effects were £582.12s.

Intriguingly in the 1911 census Elizabeth reappears with Joseph as husband & wife! They were living at 11 Commercial Rd, Burgess Hill & noted that they had been married for 47 years. Joseph was 69 & employed as a carpenter. Elizabeth completed & signed the census form.

Daughter Kate & husband Frederick Saw were living at South End, Haddenham, Bucks in 1911 & Frederick had become a plate-layer for the railway. With them were sons George, Bertram, Frank & Edward. Daughter Alice & husband Frederick Brooker were living at Perry Farm Cottage, Nr Lingfield, Surrey with 6 of their 7 children.

Joseph died, aged 75, in April-June 1916 at Burgess Hill, Sussex.

Elizabeth died, aged 75, in Oct-December 1918 at Godstone, Surrey.

The children of Elizabeth Fry & Joseph Pennifold were:

f. Kate Pennifold christened June 5th, 1864 at Cowfold, Sussex, died July-Sept 1934 at Aylesbury, Bucks
f. Alice Pennifold born Oct-Dec 1865, her birth being registered at Steyning, died 1954 at Cuckfield, Sussex
f. Walter Pennifold christened April 11th, 1869 at Cowfold, Sussex; died March 5th, 1870


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